Monday 9 January 2012

Sci Fi experience and a few thoughts

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would do Carl's Sci Fi Experience again this year. I did it last year and knocked three books off my tbr pile. As knocking books off my tbr pile is one of my main reading aims for this year, it seems only sensible to do it again this year. (Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. ;-)) I'm a bit late posting but better late than never at all.

The 'experience' runs from January 1st. through to February 29th.

The “rules” of the experience are simple: there are none. Remember, this isn’t a challenge. If you would like to join us in reading and discussing any science fiction reading or television viewing or movie watching you do over that time period, please do.

Carl wants people to:

a) Continue their love affair with science fiction
b) Return to science fiction after an absence, or
c) Experience for the first time just how exhilarating science fiction can be.

All of which I think is excellent. Here are the books I would like to read from:

Darkship Thieves - Sarah Hoyt
The Exile Waiting - Vonda McIntyre
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
At Winter's End - Robert Silverberg
World Before - Karen Traviss

I also want to do a reread of one my favourite sci fi books, Grass by Sheri Tepper.

Partly this is because my daughter read it recently and liked it a lot, but also because I was talking about Tepper's books with an online friend and I realised that there are two other books which follow Grass, one of which I own, and I would like to read those this year.

So that's that. Truthfully, I want to be as casual about this as Carl implies. If I read one book off the pile, that's fine. If I find I want to read several, that would be great too. We'll see.


And talking of rereading, Kay at Purple Sage and Scorpions has an excellent post here about doing just that.

I have to admit I'm not a huge rereader. I tend to want to move on to pastures new and have usually felt that there are so many new books to get through that I simply don't have *time* for heaps of rereading. I'm rethinking that, or trying to. What I have to instill into my thick skull is that I'm 58 now and no matter how hard I try I will *never* be able to read everything. So I might as well relax and read what I fancy, and if that includes rereading something I've previously loved then really that is okay and actually a good thing.

I did reread several books this year, one was The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill. I read it first about 15 years ago and fell in love with the author's wonderful way of describing the passing of the seasons in an Oxfordshire village. I wondered if I would love it as much a second time around. The truth is, I loved it even more. And that goes too for another of Hill's books, Howard's End is on the Landing. Her love of books shone through and I plan yet another read of this lovely book very soon. I also loved my reread of The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. And Magic by Angie Sage. And this year I plan to do some more rereading. Dickens, Anne McCaffrey, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis are all in my sites.

So, I am getting there with this rereading thing. I just need to learn a little more patience. Train myself to stop thinking of numbers of books read, because I know I'm not competing against other people with these numbers - I simply can't as I'm a slowish reader and would never win any competitions in that department. Fact is, I'm competing against myself... which is too ridiculous for words! But I'm making progress. I'm currently reading an autobiography, Wait For Me! by Deborah Devonshire. Deborah, or 'Debo' as she's known, is the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and is the youngest of the famous (or infamous) Mitford sisters. The book is utterly fascinating but I found myself thinking that I must hurry up and get it read. And then I thought, 'Why?' Well one reason is that someone else has actually reserved it, but I don't have to have it back before the 23rd. That's over two weeks away, so I'm going to sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet (my daughter and her son went home yesterday - she's doing very well), and the warm fire, and my book, (and maybe a shortbread biscuit or two) and STOP THINKING ABOUT COUNTING BOOKS!



My Gallery of Worlds said...

That's sound advice you're giving yourself Cath ;) I'm so glad your daughters doing well, although I'm sure you miss her already <3 As for your reread, it seems your one book will be turning into But don't worry, you'll always be a faster reader than me :D

DesLily said...

hmmmm I have a book on the Mitford Sisters... one day I may actually read it!

Kailana said...

I am hoping to read lots of science-fiction this year starting with the Science-Fiction Experience. I always say that, though, and then things go bad.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I love the fact that we are connecting so well on the whole reading experience, Cath. I want to reread some Anne McCaffrey this year too. I've read THE ROWAN series in the past and would like to revisit. Plus I've never read any of her Dragon books. My husband tells me that I should definitely try them.

And, I think I might have a book about the Mitford sisters. Was there one in the last couple of years that was talked about? I need to check my stacks.

Glad your daughter has had such good success with her surgery. I know she'll be happy to be home and in her own routine. Thinking of you sitting by the fire, reading. :-)

Val said...

A lovely, amusing post Cath...perhaps you should carry A Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy's Motto of "Don't Panic" in order to read as your fancy takes you and as fast as you wish :0)
I must admit that it's hard not to get drawn into competition though..isn't it..even with ourselves

I'm glad your daughter is recovering :o)

Cath said...

Kelly: It is... I just need to follow it. LOL.

Yes, the house seems very quiet now but we're keeping a careful eye and this morning she and our grandson were fine.

Yes... funny how that happens with one book turning into three. 8-D

Pat: The Mitford sisters were a fascinating lot. I'm wondering whether Alan Bradley based his De Luce family on them as some of the similarities are striking. I also didn't know of the strong Kennedy connection with Deborah Devonshire and her husband's family.

Kelly: Yeah, I know what you mean, my good sci fi intentions usually fizzle out somewhere around June. LOL.

Kay: We have a lot in common... we even look slightly alike!

I think you should try Anne McCaffrey's Dragon book too. It's best to start with Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon, but the three small Harperhall books are delightful, imo. I've read a couple of the Rowan books and also enjoyed several of the Freedom's Landing series. All good.

I think a few bloggers read a book of letters between the Mitford sisters a year or two ago and that might be what you're remembering. This book I'm reading is only two years old too. Also very popular is The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell which I own and will read this year sometime. This book I'm reading has also made me want to read something about the Kennedys, which would do nicely for my American states reading too. I just need to find the right book.

Thanks for your kind and supportive words about my daughter. We're so pleased at her progress.

Val: Ok... I'll get 'Don't Panic' tattooed across my forehead... though maybe a fridgie on the fridge might be less painful.

Thanks, she's doing very well.

Nan said...

So that's the autobiography you mentioned at Kay's blog. Ah, one I want to read as well. Sometimes I think of taking a whole year just with those girls!!

I am so very happy your daughter is well.

I have a book you might like which is Kennedy connected but not about them specifically. It is called America's Queen-The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford. I haven't read it but have peeked in a few times, and it really does look terrific.

I thought of rereading Howards End On The Landing again, too, and this time jotting down titles and authors I want to read. And I plan to read The Magic Apple Tree this year. I'm not so interested in her scary stuff. :<)

Cath said...

Nan: Wait For Me! is well worth reading. I finished it today and absolutely loved it. I sat earlier and made a list of some of the books written by or about the Mitford sisters and will read a few this year hopefully. There are a lot so you're right, you could probably spend a whole year reading about those girls!

I've made a note of the J.K.O. book - am pretty sure I should be able to get that from Devon libraries.

I thoroughly enjoyed rereading Howards End is on the Landing and had fun writing down a few titles to check out. The Magic Apple Tree is *so* you, Nan. :-)

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

I have to admit that Science Fiction books wouldn't be found anywhere on my shelves, unless there was absolutely nothing else to read in the place. It is the single genre that I just know I couldn't ever get to like.

The same goes for re-reading books. It is something that I can't remember ever doing, although as I always pass on a book once I have read it, that may hardly be an earth-shattering statement to make.

There are just so many great books out there waiting to be enjoyed, that it seems something of a waste to spend time re-reading a book, no matter how much of a favourite.

I am with you on the subject of not counting how many books I have read though. I tend to read rather slowly, which can often lead to paranoia when I see how many reviews some bloggers post each week. I have to just shut my eyes to it though, as I like to read a book thoroughly and with not having too much free time to sit and lose myself in a good book, completing a single book can often take a whole week, or sometimes even more.

Still, for me it is the enjoyment and relaxation I get from reading which is important and so long as my author requests to review are met as promotly as possible, then that's okay by me.

Have a great time choosing your books to re-read and most of all, enjoy each and every one of them.


Susan said...

Cath: I wonder if I can get The Magic Apple Tree over here? I'll have to see. It sounds delightful.

I really enjoyed this post, and especially your thoughts on not competing against anyone for how many books you read in a year. I had to give up that too, at least with other people. I compete against myself, mostly because I want to read 100 books in a year! lol

As for rereading, I do reread my favourites. I am finding, as Pat mentioned on her post recently about books she was letting go of, that when I was cleaning through my shelves on Sunday, that if I didn't think I was going to reread a book and had already read it, then I was letting it go now. This was to make room for all those new books I have just brought into the house, of course! lol

I think reading with attention and pleasure is the best way to read, and everyone has their own pace. You write such lovely thoughtful posts about what you read, too.

Cath said...

Yvonne: I fully understand that science fiction is not for everyone. LOL.

And you make a good point about there being so many new books out there that rereading is not for you too. I have always been of that opinion too, or close. But I now find myself rethinking that stance as I wanted to re-experience some books that I really loved. And the ones I reread last year were so enjoyable that I want to do more this year.

I think it's 'each to his own' to be honest. You clearly enjoy your author's requests to review, which is great. Whereas I decided after doing one or two that it wasn't for me (apart for the odd exception) as it felt far too much like doing an unpaid job. I was getting so many requests that if I did them all I would never have time to read the books I wanted to read.

Your last point is the key I think, 'enjoying' each and every book according to whatever works for you.

Susan: If you can't find The Magic Apple Tree over there, let me know, and I'll try to find it here. I think you would 'love' it.

I really wish you luck in your quest to read 100 books. You came *so* close this year!

Yes, I'm doing the same as you and Pat, letting go of those books that sit on my shelf when I know darn well I'm not going to read them again. I need the room for new ones so out they went. And they went to charity shops so that made me feel doubly virtuous. LOL.

Thank you for your nice words about my posts. My family think I'm completely mad sitting here doing blog posts about books but I just can't imagine *not* doing it anymore. It's become a way of life for me and the people I chat to like this I think of as indispensable friends.